Has Salesforce lost its way?by
A new study has called out industry giant Salesforce for decreasing value and customer satisfaction - and has concluded that it is no longer a leader in the CRM market.
Salesforce is a behemoth - and as it goes to great lengths to point out itself, it's also the number one customer relationship management tool for small, medium & enterprise businesses, with over 150,000 companies, across every industry, using the cloud platform.
But is it losing its way? That's certainly the belief of Nucleus Research, a global provider of technology research and advisory services, housing some of the most respected analysts in the industry.
Over the past two years, Nucleus Research has been gathering data from customers and organisations that decided to move away from Salesforce for other solutions, and also speaking to customers of other CRM vendors.
Its findings - as detailed in the report Salesforce, dream versus reality - conclude that in the face of decreasing value and customer satisfaction, most organisations are better served and achieve a higher ROI by choosing one of the other solutions in the market.
In a blog post, Nucleus Research CEO Ian Campbell explains that its studies found an increasing number of dissatisfied customers during the past two years, with common complaints around the cost, value and customisation of Salesforce. At the same time, Campbell notes that it also became increasingly difficult for the research firm to complete ROI case studies on Salesforce, with companies willing to talk to analysts but reluctant to put their names behind numbers.
"The Salesforce analyst relations team started sounding a lot like the old Siebel team," writes Campbell. "Less willing to provide references and far more controlling about their outbound message. We had bi-weekly calls with them throughout the second half of 2021 with little actual content to show for it. While the market moved ahead with analyst teams from solutions like Zoho, HubSpot, SugarCRM, and Oracle providing great information on real customer success, Salesforce had little to show, and certainly didn’t want to hear feedback from Nucleus on what we’d been finding."
To support the research, the Nucleus team launched a survey to quantify the experiences of Salesforce customers. This revealed that Salesforce ranks poorly in value and usability (with the platform taking longer to train users than other top solutions), and that 51% of customers said they would not buy it again.
With the findings "overwhelmingly negative" (the worst by at least 20%" according to Campbell), Nucleus concluded that it cannot recommend Salesforce.
Campbell notes: "If you are considering Salesforce, take a look at the other vendors in our CRM Value Matrix report. Small and medium-sized organisations will get immediate value from Zoho or SugarCRM while others might benefit from the depth of Hubspot. Medium and larger companies with an Oracle foundation would be far better served looking in that direction. Marc Benioff may famously hate Oracle, but there’s a reason the folks in Redwood Shores have been around for 45 years. I’ll give you a hint, it’s about listening to the customer."
And all is not lost for those that have already chosen Salesforce - with Nucleus also finding that most organisations that move away from Salesforce receive a positive ROI in less than 12 months.
Campbell concludes: "We’ve come full circle, and honestly, I’ve seen it before. Companies such as SAP, Infor, Oracle, and IBM post-Ginni know that staying relevant in the long term takes real work. Others such as SugarCRM and Zoho provide sustainable value for their customer every day. Salesforce, unfortunately, has lost its way."
Despite Nucleus' conclusions, Salesforce remains a popular recommendation for other analysts. Salesforce has been ranked the #1 CRM provider for eight years running by International Data Corporation (IDC) in its latest Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker, from 2014-2021. Gartner has also named the company a Leader in its CRM Magic Quadrant for 13 consecutive years.
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined MyCustomer in 2007.